People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

So Which Is It?

I've been asked in the past about running for public office. And there have been more than a few individuals who have speculated that I work this weblog in order to get my name known in the area and that I have ulterior motives. Like to unseat that Congressman fella from Abingdon who is wasting our time up in D.C.

Problem is, I find politics to be so distasteful. The whole "talking out of both sides of your mouth" kinda thing. And there's the requirement that you have to contradict yourself because political circumstances change, forcing you to knowingly make a fool out of yourself. "I was for it before I was against it," and all that.

And there is no such thing as loyalty, to a friend or to a position, in politics. Especially on the Democrat side. Remember all those close dear friends Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman had before he uncharacteristically stuck to his convictions and supported the war in Iraq? They turned on him in a heartbeat. And they're now slinking back seeking his good graces, after he whipped their champion-of-the-moment, Ned Lamont.

Which brings me to
Southwest Distress. This is a weblog, like many here in the commonwealth that carry water for the blogger's party of choice (there are many others that cheerlead for a particular candidate), that supports Democrat causes. And that's fine. And a good thing.

In order to be the good party man* though, one sometimes has to twist oneself in knots. As has Southwest Distress, I sadly report.

In a post dated
May 19, SD starts out with an excellent analysis of the voting patterns - and their implications - from the 2005 District 6 House of Delegates vote - the race between then-incumbent Benny Keister (D-Pulaski) and challenger Anne B. Crockett-Stark (R-Wytheville). Good enough to reproduce, in part:

Why is this race, in the heart of conservative SWVA, still so competitive?

Simple. The two largest localities in terms of registered voter numbers, Pulaski and Giles County, have leaned towards Democrats the last few cycles. Pulaski County, with some 38% of the district's vote, went for Benny Keister 55%/45% in the last election. Giles County, with 21.5% of the district's vote, went 53%/47% in favor of Keister. Annie B. managed to triumph however, by pulling down better than 60% of the vote in the remaining three localities: Bland, Tazewell, and her native Wythe County.
Good stuff. And accurate.

That's the aboveboard part. But then Southwest Distress has to revert to politics mode. And he* disappoints, with this:

This year, the roles have been reversed, with Annie B fighting as an incumbent and defending a record of... inactivity in the General Assembly. Will Judge Thomas take Annie to task on her lackluster efforts in Richmond? [ellipsis in the original]
Inactivity. Lackluster efforts. My. My. My.

Why is this particularly disappointing?

Because not long ago, this same blogger was calling Annie B (the "inactive" Annie B) a fighter serving her constituents "very well." On Sept. 26, he wrote:

Well, Delegate Crockett-Stark is serving Pulaski County very well and for that, at least, I'm grateful. Ideological leanings aside, it's nice to have her fighting for so many infrastructure improvements.
So we have an inactive ... fighter. John Kerry must have conducted a training seminar on political discourse here in Southwest Virginia, and Southwest Distress took careful notes.

What's changed in recent months? It's election season. So political persons go into political mode. And candor goes out the window. As does one's integrity. And that person ties himself into knots in order to be the good party man.

Everyone knows what I think of Anne B. Crockett-Stark's performance in the House. Her actions in the epic transportation budget battle that stretched over the better part of a year and pitted our freshman delegate - Annie B - against the most powerful array of political, academic, and print journalism foes ever assembled in the commonwealth were magnificent. A greater victory, after endless hours of hard work and fights well fought, we've never seen in this part of the state.

My attitude will not change because of the season. Which makes me a lousy politician, I know.

But at least I sleep well at night.

* For the sake of accuracy, I don't know if SD is male or female.

Traud's Up, Trejbal's On Deck

It wasn't satisfying enough the first time they trashed Jerry Falwell's life and legacy (while his body was still warm and his family was still grieving its loss), the reprobates at the Roanoke Times double back this morning to kick his dead carcass again.

And bitchslap Christians, or "Christians," in the process.

How proud they must be.

Photo courtesy of AP.

It's All Downhill From Here

You thought that agreement on illegal immigration hammered out by Ted Kennedy and John McCain was a travesty? Stick around. Now the real work begins. Deals are to be cut. And the "compromises" begrudgingly tossed to conservatives will be excised - one by one.

But you can count on this: Foreign workers - legal and otherwise - are going to be protected, no matter what. The first step in that direction:
Senate retains guest-worker program in 'bargain'
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times

The Senate yesterday voted to preserve a guest-worker program as part of the immigration "grand bargain," in the first test of the bipartisan coalition that is backing the bill.

The vote went straight to the heart of the debate over jobs and competition between immigrants and American workers. (link)
For what it's worth, the existing guest worker program has been proven to be a great conduit for those who want to come into this country legally and then disappear into our communities illegally, never to be heard from again.

Anyway. We've now seen to it that guest workers are protected. Soon we'll be reassured by an amendment guaranteeing that illegals who have legal family members here (children who were born in the USA) will not be ejected. Then we'll amnesty the remaining millions.

And border security? Hush. There'll be time to talk about that another day ...

And Just How Accommodating Are We Supposed To Be?

Maybe when they start strapping on bomb belts - in Hoboken - the left will wake up to the threat:

Time Bomb In Our Midst
By Douglas Montero and Andy Soltis, The New York Post

One out of four young U.S. Muslims believe suicide bombings against innocent civilians are OK to defend Islam, a disturbing new poll revealed yesterday.

The nationwide survey - one of the most exhaustive ever conducted of American Muslim attitudes - also found widespread doubt that Islamic terrorists carried out the 9/11 attacks. (link)
It's coming. To a shopping mall near you. It's just a matter of time.

Meanwhile in Washington, we are locked in debate over life-and-death issues - like curlicue lightbulbs.

May God have mercy.

Oh, and John Warner and the Roanoke Times are focused on the fact that our atmospheric temperature has risen 0.6° celsius over the last 40 years and on the implications this might have on national security.

I just want to cry.

How Clintonesque

I'll bet the mad mullahs in Tehran are shaking in their boots:
Navy Stages Show of Force Off Iran Coast
By The Associated Press

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The U.S. Navy staged its latest show of military force off the Iranian coastline on Wednesday, sending two aircraft carriers and landing ships packed with 17,000 U.S. Marines and sailors to carry out unannounced exercises in the Persian Gulf.

The carrier strike groups led by the USS John C. Stennis and USS Nimitz were joined by the amphibious assault ship ... (link)
I can picture Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bringing his hot dog and beer down to the shore at lunchtime to watch the spectacle. And then go back to feverishly manufacturing his weapons-grade nuclear fuel. For nothing else could reasonably be accomplished in affecting such a useless exercise.

Look, a show of military force is a Bill Clinton stunt. And if you recall, it didn't even work when used in the Battle of Port-au-Prince, where Bubba sent American warships and Navy Seals to Haiti in "a show of force," approached, were confronted by a mob of drunken Haitians on the beach shouting insults and obscenities at them, and the mightiest naval force to ever sail the seas turned and fled in retreat. How embarrassing. And utterly stupid.

It didn't serve its intended purpose then in Haiti. It won't work today in Iran .

The 'Coasting To Victory' Strategy

Sometimes politicians can be too smart by half. They think, by not entering the rough-and-tumble, that they can keep their mouths shut, keep their noses clean, and coast to victory. George Bush 41's second term in the White House attests to how well that strategy often works.

Rudy seems to have adopted that same ... interesting ... strategy:
Giuliani Above the Fray as McCain and Romney Skirmish
By Michael Cooper, The New York Times

The contrast could hardly be more striking. Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney have been mixing it up on the trail with increasing intensity ever since their feisty exchange at the last Republican debate. This week their arguments over immigration prompted Mr. McCain to suggest acidly that Mr. Romney’s solution might be “to get out his small-varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his lawn.”

Standing on the sidelines, safely out of the line of small-varmint-gun fire, has been Rudolph W. Giuliani, the Republican who is still leading in most national polls. (link)
Rudy may be adopting the silence-is-golden strategy for other reasons. He opened his mouth last week, made his position known on the subject of abortion, and caught sixteen kinds of hell from the rabid conservative base of his party. So keeping his mouth shut may be a good thing, for that reason only.

The purpose of a primary campaign, however, is to get a candidate's views and positions out in front of the voters. And Rudy is making a big mistake here if he thinks that he will glide to victory because others are grappling with one another in that nasty arena of ideas.

We don't coronate our Presidents, pal. Not even Hillary. There's no such thing as a win by uncontested acclamation.

So, roll up your sleeves. Show us what you got.

This Makes Sense

There are those of us who will never own a hybrid automobile (half gasoline-powered, half electric). Our driving habits are such that one just won't work. In my case, living on the frontier of America (well, very rural Bland County, Virginia) where I have to drive 20 miles to buy my Wheaties, the use I would get out of the car, and the savings I would obtain, are minimal.

But in downtown New York, a hybrid makes much more sense. And the mayor there thinks so too, although he has a boneheaded reason for agreeing with me:
Mayor Plans an All-Hybrid Taxi Fleet
By Ray Rivera, The New York Times

The spacious but gas-guzzling Ford Crown Victoria, long the emblematic vehicle of the city’s yellow cab fleet, would be replaced by cleaner, more fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles under a five-year plan proposed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday.

The move, which requires approval by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, is part of the mayor’s ambitious environmental agenda for the city, PlaNYC, which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. (link)
Those greenhouse gas emissions that emanate from an automobile's exhaust in these days is minimal. Almost at trace levels. So Bloomberg's reasoning is a bit silly.

But the savings that the city might realize in having the fleets using its streets burning volts rather than hydrocarbons is a good thing. And it makes perfect sense.

Now, if they can come up with an electric car that will do Big Walker Mountain, I'm in.

They Read The Polls Wrong

The New York Times this morning accurately portrays the results of - and the implications derived from - the Democrats' caving on the Retreat-From-Iraq bill they were trying to force down President Bush's throat:
Democrats Pull Troop Deadline From Iraq Bill
By Carl Hulse, The New York Times

Washington, May 22 — Congressional Democrats relented Tuesday on their insistence that a war spending measure set a date for withdrawing American combat troops from Iraq. Instead, they moved toward a deal with President Bush that would impose new conditions on the Iraqi government.

The decision to back down was a wrenching reversal for leading Democrats, who saw their election triumph in November as a call to force an end to the war. It was the first time since taking power in Congress that the Democrats had publicly agreed to allow a vote on war financing without a timetable for troop withdrawal. (link)
The Democrats have indeed seen their victory in November as a call to exit Iraq. And their eyesight, as usual, is blurry. There were a number of reasons why the Republican leadership was bounced. Most notably: Abramoff/Ney/Cunningham/Casey and bridge-to-nowhere/earmarks/national debt and spend-like-there's-no-tomorrow/live-like-pigs-in-slop.

The betrayal of the conservative base actually had more to with the abandonment of the GOP and the resulting loss of power than did the war.

As for the polls that deluded the Democratic leadership into thinking it had some kind of mandate to abandon our troops in Iraq, leaving them to their fate, they've been reading the polls wrong from the beginning. Probably intentionally.

We all want out of this war. But.

Some want an immediate retreat (many on the left have been hoping we lose from the start). Some just can't handle the sorrowful headlines and have given up, wanting to hide instead under a rock. Others see no end in sight and want the war called off for that reason. Then there are those who are profoundly disappointed that the war is being fought - or not - with so many restrictions, a la Vietnam, that they see no upside to continuing operations. And finally there are those of us who want the war to end - once victory is achieved.

So, calls to End the War! mean a lot of things to different people.

The Democrats think all America is behind them on this. It would do them well to take stock - a headcount - of that horde they think is following them. It's actually not nearly as voluminous as they think.

That's why the President has won a major victory. In this fight anyway.

While We're On That Subject

Having just made the point that the GOP was driven from power in Washington in November in large part because of ethics (and criminal) scandals relating to Bob Ney, Duke Cunningham, Mark Casey, and Jack Abramoff, it is worth noting that the party that seized power seems to be heading down that same path:

Democrats Find Ethics Overhaul Elusive in House
By David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times

Washington, May 22 — House Democratic leaders pushing a promised lobbying overhaul are facing resistance from balky lawmakers and fending off accusations that a prominent member is flouting new ethics rules.

The Democratic leaders were forced to scrap a promise to double the current one-year lobbying ban after lawmakers leave office. Now, they are struggling to pass legislation requiring lobbyists to disclose the campaign contributions they “bundle” — collect and deliver — to lawmakers. Failing to deliver on both measures would endanger similar provisions already passed by the Senate.

Other House rules changes this year appear to have done little to alter business as usual on Capitol Hill. (link)
These antics are going to come back to bite the Dems when certain of their membership start their long-overdue journeys to the slammer (beginning with the Congressman who likes to keep his bribes in the freezer).

Now's the time to get their house in order. In part because they promised the American people they would.

But they won't. The more things change, the more they stay the same ...

You know there's something amiss when the New York Times editorialists agree with me.